I mentioned ALPABASA for the first time during the 4th Philippine HomeSchool Conference last May.
I used it with Dearest Daughter once after I bought it and had a fine time playing an identify and spelling game. We haven’t used it yet since then but I’ve used it with my older son who’s in Prep (or Upper Kinder). I bought it to help me teach Filipino to my children. Using picture cards and flash cards with the Filipino alphabet and common syllables makes it particularly appealing to younger children.
What is ALPABASA? It’s a series of flash cards of the most common Filipino objects a child would encounter along with the letters of the Filipino alphabet and the common syllables. Alpabasa was created by Learning Lion Publishing House, Inc.
Packaging.It comes in a very tough card stock material. It is sold as a ring bound book containing an instruction manual with the cards perforated so that all you need to do is to cut or tear them out. It is colorful and appealing to young children because it looks like playing cards. The cards are not too large, they’re the right size for young hands to hold. The cards are also tough and won’t crumple or tear easily.
Engages the senses. This past week I used it with my 5 year old boy and he enjoyed it. It helped reinforce what we were learning from his Filipino textbook. I’m not as good with Filipino as I should be, since I didn’t grow up in the Philippines. English is really the language I am comfortable with. I learned from Debra Bell’s talk during the May Homeschool Conference that children, especially young children, learn best when they use all their senses to take in information. ALPABASA helps this by allowing my little boy to see, touch and play with the pictures and letters (which he can’t do with his textbook) while we read them aloud .
Fun while learning. I also learned that young children (and most anybody else) learn best and retain information better when they’re having fun while learning. Or at least, when they’re relaxed and not stressed. My son doesn’t realize he’s learning about the language while he identifies the pictures and searches for the letters to spell the names of the pictures. He’s also a Tactile/Kinesthetic learner so using the Alpabasa cards make it easier to teach him because the cards allow him to have something in his hands while learning.
The Not-so-Big Minuses
It’s all about the Price. It is pricey as flash cards go. At almost PhP 2,000.00 I thought it was pretty expensive. But then I considered how long it would have taken me to find all those pictures and then write or print out the letters and syllables. I figured it was worth the price. Of course, the fact that another child and even my eldest child can still use it convinced me that it was worth the investment.
Packaging. I did say it was appealing. The challenge was cutting out the cards so they wouldn’t “tear” and have jagged edges. The perforations were not through and through so I couldn’t just tear them out or push them out of the page. Each card had to be carefully cut out. Despite the time it took to cut them, I still thought it was worth it.
Storage. The book comes in an A3 size which makes it somewhat hard to store. I couldn’t throw the pages I had cut the cards out from because the instruction manual was part of the book. I also needed to find a box to store the cut-out cards. It would have been better to have the cards already cut out and have the manual appear in a smaller book or pamphlet.
Overall Score: Good fun and Worth the Investment!